DK People & Places: Australasia & Oceania

The sparsely populated continent of Australasia is made up of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and several nearby islands. It is the world?s smallest continent, but includes a range of landscapes from tropical rainforest and arid desert, to volcanoes and dry grasslands. Oceania consists of about 25,000 volcanic or coral tropical islands, scattered over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are divided into three groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Some of the islands are mountainous and densely forested, and many are uninhabited.

FACTFILE: AUSTRALASIA & OCEANIA

Total land area: 3,285,048 sq miles (8,508,238 sq km)

Total population: 30.4 million

Number of countries: 14

Largest country: Australia 2,967,892 sq miles (7,686,850 sq km)

Smallest country: Nauru 8 sq miles (21 sq km)

Largest country population: Australia 19.5 million

Largest lake: Lake Eyre, Australia 3,700 sq miles (9,583 sq km)

Longest river: Murray-Darling, Australia 2,330 miles (3,750 km)

Highest point: Mt. Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea 14,794 ft (4,509 m)

Major desert: Great Victoria Desert, Australia

Largest coral reef: Great Barrier Reef, Australia 1,242 miles (2,000 km)

FACTFILE: MICRONESIA

PALAU

Capital city: Koror

MICRONESIA

Capital city: Palikir (Pohnpei Island)

MARSHALL ISLANDS

Capital city: Majuro

NAURU

Capital city: No official capital

KIRIBATI

Capital city: Bairiki (Tarawa Atoll)

FACTFILE: MELANESIA

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Capital city: Port Moresby

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Capital city: Honiara

VANUATU

Capital city: Port Vila

FIJI

Capital city: Suva

FACTFILE: POLYNESIA

TUVALU

Capital city: Fongafale (Funafuti Atoll)

SAMOA

Capital city: Apia

TONGA

Capital city: Nuku?alofa

Copyright 2007Dorling Kindersley